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- Guinness PRO12
- 21st Dec 2012
- KO 19:05
- Ground: Ravenhill, Belfast
- Att: 11,300
RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster battle past Leinster
Tries from Andrew Trimble, Nick Williams and a penalty try earned Ulster a 27-19 victory over Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday.
The hosts bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week to stay well out in front in the Rabo Direct PRO12 after their 11th straight win, but Ulster had to battle hard throughout and finished with 14 men after Rory Best was yellow-carded late on.
Leinster edged ahead after 12 minutes when Ian Madigan made no mistake with his first kick after Tom Court was penalised at a scrum, then made it 6-0 with a second penalty after 18 minutes when Nick Williams was penalised for not rolling away.
Ulster's Paddy Jackson missed two early penalty chances but finally found his range after 26 minutes after Court won a penalty off Michael Bent.
The scores were then levelled just before the half hour mark when John Afoa won a scrum penalty and this time Ruan Pienaar landed the longer range effort.
Madigan then kicked his third penalty shortly afterwards but Ulster responded with Williams leading the way and then from a five-metre scrum referee George Clancy awarded a penalty try, which Pienaar converted to put Ulster 13-9 up at half-time.
But Leinster started the second half with Jamie Heaslip making a strong burst and with their opponents off-side in their own 22, Madigan struck his fourth penalty to close Ulster's lead to a single point.
The hosts responded as a Trimble half-break led to Darren Cave, Court and Pienaar all taking it on and Ulster got over the line with the television match official awarding the score to Williams.
Pienaar converted to put Ulster 20-12 ahead after 46 minutes but the Springbok was then wide with a 63rd minute attempt as Ulster began to put real pressure on Leinster.
With 10 minutes left, Best was sin-binned for not rolling away and even though Madigan was wide with the penalty, Ulster had to close out the game with 14 men.
And this they did with Pienaar's cross-kick working a treat for Trimble, who lost Andrew Goodman to score with Pienaar slotting the conversion to make it 27-12.
Leinster had the final say when Fergus McFadden got on the end of a Madigan pass in the 78th minute, then converted his own try, but it was not enough to force a bonus point.
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Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com